Knee Pain – why does it hurt when I ride?
Dr. Livia is here to help!
Knee pain is a common complaint among cyclists with approximately one quarter of cyclists experiencing knee pain in any given year. However, since the knee is a connection between the ankle and hip it is pain at the knee is often an indication that there is a problem elsewhere.
Pain at the front of the knee known in the biz as “anterior knee pain” is usually a result of too tight (or short) quadriceps muscles (quads) or iliotibial (IT) bands, the fibrous structure on the outside of the leg pulling on the knee cap. Cyclists use the quads during the down stroke motion of pedalling and when they are too tight they will often cause the cyclist to send the knees outward rather than track straight forward to compensate for the tightness.
An easy fix for anterior knee pain is to look at your bike fit. Often people who suffer from pain at the front of the knee have a seat that is slightly too low or too far forward which puts an increase in pressure through the knee. A combination of raising your saddle a small amount and stretching the thigh muscles is a great place to start when suffering anterior knee pain.
Pain at the back of the knee known in the biz as “posterior knee pain” is usually a result of a problem arising from the hamstring muscle at the back of the thigh. The hamstring muscle is used during the up stroke motion of pedalling and if your saddle is too high this can cause an overextension at the knee increasing the pressure behind the knee.
An easy fix for posterior knee pain is again to look at your bike fit. Often people who suffer from pain at the back of the knee have a seat that is slightly too high or too far back. A combination of lowering your saddle and stretching the posterior chain (calves, hamstrings, glutes and low back) muscles is a great place to start when suffering posterior knee pain.
Although these tips are a great place to start, if your pain persists after trying these easy fixes then it is time to see your manual therapist and look at getting a professional bike fit.